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Building a digital world consumers can trust

Source: Consumers International


Top 10 ways to stay safe as a consumer online

The internet provides us with a huge range of opportunity and choice. We can connect easily and communicate with friends and family around the world, do our weekly shopping and organise our bills and payments all at the touch of a button, saving time and effort. All these activities use our personal information in some way – our bank details to make a payment, our photos and comments, or our address for deliveries. With more data about us online, risks of things like identity theft, hacking, ransomware, scams and fraud increase.

Here are some simple things that we can all do to help protect our personal data online and enjoy the internet safely:

  1. Use different and original passwords
  • It’s the simplest thing to change but something we all fail to do. It’s important to have a different pin or password for all of your accounts so that if even if one account is hacked, the rest will be protected. The most important password to change regularly is the one for your email account as this can be used to reset your passwords for your others. If you suspect a hack (people often don’t know), change your password immediately and change any other passwords which are the same.  
  • Avoid choosing obvious passwords, such as your place of birth or child’s name as these are easy to find out.  Instead, use complex words or phrases which use capital letters, numbers and punctuation for extra security. Consider using a password service that secures all your passwords so you only need to remember one.   
  1. Make use of security settings
  • Most companies supply a range of consumer-facing options for securing devices, such as privacy settings and passcodes. Always set a passcode on a smartphone - it’s surprising the number of people who don’t – without it all your apps, tickets, calendars, contacts, payment information and lots of personal information is readily available. Take time to look at privacy settings and set to your preferences and don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if you find this tricky. 
  1. Be careful what you share on social media
  • If you stick with the default settings, then anything you share on social media can be accessed anywhere by anyone, so think before you post. Spend time to find out the privacy settings and avoid sharing personal details especially those that can build up a full picture of you, like your address, workplace, holiday plans and names of close family.
  1. Take care with  Wi-Fi
  • Free public Wi-Fi is really convenient, but security can be an issue as you are sharing the network with lots of people. Use ‘https’ if you’re on a Wi-Fi network to connect to your email, social media or other personal accounts.  If you’re at home, always set a password for access to your network.
  1. Don’t be fooled by hoax emails, texts or messages
  • It is easy to be lured into an email claiming you are entitled to prize money or long-lost inheritance funds but be careful. Don’t trust offers or rewards which seem too good to be true because they probably are. If you receive an email stating you are owed a large amount of money and you must provide your bank details in order to claim it – watch out! This is an easy way for hackers to get your bank details and commit fraud.
  • If you receive an email from your bank or a company asking for your details, forward it to their customer service email to check it’s genuine before giving away any details. 
  1. Avoid opening email attachments or unusual links  
  •  Viruses are often sent through email attachments or links. Viruses can harm your device and access personal information. If you don’t recognise the sender or know what the attachment is, don’t open it. The same even goes for links from friends. If you’re sent something which looks slightly odd from a friend’s account always ask them before opening it as it is likely that their email account has been hacked.
  1. Use a temporary email addresses
  •  When signing up to websites you’re often asked to supply an email address and contact information even if you’re only using the service once. If you want to avoid receiving marketing and sales emails for the foreseeable future, you can set up a temporary email address. This allows you enough time to log on and provide your details. The email address then automatically self-destructs without retaining any of your personal data. Using temporary email addresses provides a safe way of signing up to websites without having to give your actual email address. There are many websites which offer this service, simply search ‘temporary email addresses’ to discover the options.
  1. Make sure your payments are secure
  • When making a payment online, look for web addresses that begin with ‘https://’, not just ‘http’, the s stands for secure. This means that the data is encrypted as it travels between the website and your computer. There should also be a green padlock to the left or right of the web address indicating that the website it secure.
  • It’s useful to get into the habit of regularly checking your bills and bank statements carefully after making payments to ensure the correct amounts have been debited and that no fraudulent action has taken place as a result of the transaction.
  1. Keep software updated
  • Turning automatic updates on for your operating system and software is a really easy way to ensure you have the best available protection as each update builds in extra security automatically. If you have old software it will be missing the newest protections, so turn on automatic updates for all your devices.
  1. Install and update firewalls, antivirus and anti-spy software
  •  It’s important to have these set up on all of your devices as firewalls prevent unauthorised people from hacking your computer, antivirus software protects your computer from viruses and anti-spyware search for programmes which spy on your computer looking for passwords, accounts and personal details. Without these your devices are at greater risk of being hacked.



National Online Survey of " Service Charges " in Hotels/ Restaurants

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What your pee and poop tells you about your health

ind out what is normal and when you should be worried

We live in a society where urinating and defecating are not activities we discuss with others. In fact, we seldom look at the toilet bowl after relieving ourselves. But, it is advisable to pay attention to the colour, odour and consistency of the urine and stool you pass.

In fact, your pee and poop can tell you a great deal about your overall health. If there is anything that looks a bit unusual about either of them, please consult your doctor.

Pee characteristics

Urine is generated by the kidneys to remove toxins that could make you sick if left in your blood.

What is normal: Healthy urine should be clear, straw-coloured and practically odourlesss. Some people find their pee smells stronger and is darker first thing in the morning when it’s more concentrated.

Shades of pee

The significance of different colours of pee are described below:

Dark yellow or brown: Dehydration

Colourless: Excess fluid intake

Red: Consumption of beetroot or artificial colours. Or a sign of blood loss, infection, enlarged prostate, cancer, cysts or kidney stones

Bright yellow or orange: Consumption of beta-carotene or vitamin B supplements

Purple: Associated with use of catheters and infections

Blue-green: Associated with certain medications or rare genetic conditions

Colour of syrup or molasses: Liver disease

Smell: Certain food and drinks including beer, garlic and coffee, may temporarily give your urine a stronger smell. If your pee is smelly (like ammonia) you could have an infection, urinary stones or a sexually transmitted disease. Sweet smelling urine could indicate diabetes. 

Other factors: Frequent urination could be because of an infection or diabetes. Pain upon peeing could be due to an infection or kidney stones. Cloudy pee means you have an infection, or a problem with your kidneys. If your pee looks foamy and/or has sediments it could indicate it has protein in it – a sign of kidney disease.

Holding your pee

Holding your urine is not only uncomfortable, it could lead to urinary tract infections in women. Controlling the urge to urinate is only advisable if there is no clean toilet facility nearby.

Poop characteristics

Pooping regularly is vital to good health as it is your body’s natural way of expelling waste after it has absorbed the nutrients it needs from food. Faeces is made up of undigested food, bacteria, mucus and dead cells. That’s why it smells.

The food you eat usually takes 3 days to end up in your poop. On an average, people poop once or twice a day. But some may go more often and some less. There is no ‘normal’ frequency as long as you feel comfortable.

What is normal: Normal poop colour ranges from light yellow to brown. It should look like a smooth, soft cucumber. Healthy poop is easy to pass and sinks slowly in the toilet bowl.

Colour: When taking iron supplements it is natural to have black-coloured stool. But, black stool could indicate bleeding in the stomach or small intestine due to an ulcer or cancer. Poop that is yellow, greasy and foul-smelling signals malabsorption of food. Very pale or clay-coloured stool can result when taking some anti-diarrhoeal medications but could also signal bile duct obstruction. Dark yellow stool could signal problems with the liver or gall bladder. If your poop has lots of mucus it could indicate ulcerative colitis or colon cancer.

Red poop could indicate piles but also cancer. Green excrement may mean food is moving too fast through your large intestine.

Textures of poop

The significance of different textures of stool are described below:

Separate hard lumps: Constipation probably due to severe lack of fibre and fluids

Sausage-shaped with cracks: Need to consume more fluids

Sausage-shaped but lumpy: Need to consume more fibre and fluids

Soft blobs with clear-cut edges: Normal if you are pooping multiple times a day

Fluffy pieces with ragged edges: Signals onset of diarrhoea

Watery, no solid pieces: Diarrhoea, probably because of an infection

Soft, sticks to the side of toilet bowl: Presence of too much oil due to malabsorption of fat


What happens to your money when your card is blocked after a data breach

Indian banks carried out the country's biggest card replacement move after 3.2 million accounts were compromised in a massive data breach that had its source in China.

Many top banks in the country, including national lender SBI, were among those hit.

While there has been a proactive measure to protect customers, there are a few things you should be aware of when something of this magnitude happens.

Who should you go to if your money goes missing?
The RBI says banks are responsible. "For any monetary loss on account of breach of security or failure of the security, the bank is liable to bear the loss,” stipulates a draft by the central bank on debit cards.

According to the draft, on being notified by the customer, the "bank should credit (shadow reversal)" the amount involved in the unauthorised electronic transaction to the customer's account within 10 working days.

"The burden of proving customer liability in case of unauthorised electronic banking transactions shall lie on the bank," RBI said in the draft. Customers have to show that the transaction was not effected by them and happened without authentication.

RBI has also proposed that banks should ensure that a complaint is resolved within 90 days and in case of debit card/bank account the customer does not lose out on interest. In case of credit card, banks should also ensure that the customer does not have to bear any additional burden of interest.

Banks must ask their customers to mandatorily register for alerts, the RBI draft says.

So, remember to inform your bank or else the bank cannot be held liable.

What do banks do after this and how do customers ensure this doesn't happen again?
Banks will issue you a new card at no cost. You can generate the PIN through SMS/IVRS/internet banking without visiting the branch. Alternatively, cardholders can collect the physical PIN mailer from their home branch.

Most banks give you the option to choose card network companies for extra safety. Additionally, customers can set their own card limit through internet banking based on his/her requirement. These services are easy to operate and available free of cost to the cardholders.

Banks may also ask you to change your personal identification number (PIN) as a precaution.